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Dark Days Ahead – The Struggle Continues… By Sherry Cannon

Sherry-Cannon-photo1Watching the Republican National Convention (RNC) gave me an enormous sense of anxiety. I could only watch in short spurts, but continued to turn back to it, hoping to hear someone speak from a place of honesty and optimism. The majority of the speakers appeared angry and had messages of doom and gloom.  The crowd was like the crowds of the “Hunger Games” looking for blood. They’re willingness to ignore Trump’s racist, misogynist, dishonest, xenophobic, isolationist talk, in order to take their country back and make America great again is telling. The question is, “who took their country, and why is it no longer great?” 

The Black Eagle, Joe Madison, frequently says on his radio show, “We must listen with a third ear and see with a third eye“. Listening with my third ear to the words spoken at the RNC, I heard their coded language saying, that our African-American President is the cause of America’s fall from greatness.  That he was illegitimate and therefore, America needed to be put back in the rightful hands of a legitimate American. The fact that Donald Trump has been selected as an acceptable choice for president, tells you how desperate they are to “take back their country”, or as Bill Maher so aptly puts it, “make it white again”!

Thomas Mac, a Facebook friend, wrote a post recently that resonated with me.  Thomas said, “There is a philosophical resistance taking place… A resistance to FACTS; fighting the realization that all the tenets of alleged superiority are proven non-existent.  It surfaces as hate and fear… And guilt”. Thomas’ statement makes a lot of sense. It explains much of the vitriol spewed at the RNC.  It’s clear that Donald Trump is playing on the emotions of people who are scared and angry.  People who are not interested in anything changing.  People not willing to accept the possibility of not being superior to the rest of the world.  Trump is saying, if you elect me, we will be great again and the rest of the world will once again fear America.

It feels like we are in the middle of the Civil Rights Movement all over again. I thought about the sermon Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. preached the night before he was assassinated.  In that sermon Dr. King said, ”We have some dark and difficult days ahead.”  If you recall, he was in Memphis, Tennessee, supporting Black Sanitation Workers on strike because of unequal wages and unsafe working conditions.  Those striking men carried signs with the words “I AM A MAN “on them. Fast-forward forty-eight years later and we see people carrying signs with the words “Black Lives Matter” on them. Not much has changed in almost 50 years.

The Voting Rights act had just been signed three short years prior and Dr. King had begun to turn his attention to poverty. Today poverty is still an issue, with the disparity between people of color and the rest of America still a great divide. As it was in 1968, voting is still the great equalizer and it is critical that we look at this November election with a sense of urgency.

Frederick Douglass said in a speech in 1857, “Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.”  Douglass also said, “Find out just what any people will quietly submit to-and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them.  The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress.”  

As I struggled with the things said at the RNC, a week passed by. Then the Democratic National Convention happened; in my spirit I could hear the Reverend Jesse Jackson saying, “Keep Hope Alive”! The DNC gave me life. It made me laugh, it made me cry, and it helped me to breathe again. Speaker after speaker reminded us what the aspiration of being the United States of America is all about. We heard from many people about the challenges we face, but also the possibilities of working together to address and conquer them. No one was more eloquent and hopeful as first lady Michelle Obama, who reminded us for the past seven and a half years she and her family have awakened in a house built by slaves. She also shared how they taught their daughters to ignore the hateful and cruel things said about President Obama, “When they go low, we go high”.

After watching the two conventions, there is a clear choice to be made. Will we elect a demagogue in Donald Trump, who claims he alone is the only one that can fix the problems we face, or will we believe that we are stronger together and vote for Hillary Clinton?

The polls are saying the two candidates are virtually tied. There are still some dark and difficult days ahead, but the same way the Civil Rights Movement continued after the assassination of Dr. King, is how we must approach this election. We have 100 days to remind the people in our sphere of influence the urgency of voting and the necessity of making that vote count. Not voting or voting for the wrong person is like playing Russian Roulette with not only the future of our children, but the impact it will have on the entire world.